Kings Canyon is absolutely worth the trip if you’re visiting Uluru. It’s a 3 hour drive for one main hike a few scenic stops on the way so it can be easily done in a day. Again, plan your hiking times accordingly to avoid being a roast chicken in the Australian dessert.
Fortunately, our expected 40 degree day turned out to be in the mild 20s, we didn’t have to get up at 4am for the 4 hour Kings Canyon Rim Walk, but at a much more agreeable 6am instead. Kings Canyon resort is the only place you can stay at, and it’s about 15 minutes to the walk. There were a surprising number of tours – and starting the walk before the desert sun is up is A MUST. The thought of hiking up 500 unsteady rocky steps with the sun glaring on your back is not something I jump at. Labelled as strenuous, the hike itself is only tough at the beginning with the steps, after that it’s just a casual stroll around the rim of this expansive canyon.
The landscape varies beautifully, with spinifex fields, to big drops into the gorge, to the “Garden of Eden” – a waterhole that only the TRULY lucky get to see a waterfall because it’s honestly, VERY VERY DRY. But having seen photos online, I can say that post-rain, this would’ve been gorgeous.
4 hours is a very decent time for the Rim Walk – we stopped in plenty of places with no rush, to snack and for photo ops!
On our 3 hour drive back to Yulara we stopped by the Mt Conner lookout – a distant rocky mountain in the background that many consider a “fake Uluru” – or travellers are simply tricked into thinking this is the famous rock itself. In reality, it’s quite a bit flatter on top, and takes a far unsealed road to get to.